Published on July 24th, 2012 | by Sudhir0
Most Valuable XI – Moneyball Redux
After following the IPL and all the mediocrity that accompanies it for 5 years, I find that the performance tables are increasingly identical to what Billy Beane had to say of Baseball when he took over the Manager’s job with the Oakland Atheletics, as depicted in Moneyball – “There are the rich teams. There are the poor teams. And then there is 50 feet of crap.”
Sadly, that’s how any league eventually turns out. The EPL will remain a realistic dream only for less than one thirds of the teams participating. Half the teams racing F1 will never ever win a single race, never mind a constructor’s title. And every time we see a new champion emerge in any of these sporting leagues, the LA Lakers, Manchester Uniteds and Ferraris of the world would come from behind and give the new champion a stunner, a drop-kick or even a choke-slam and run away with the champion’s crown. Much like Undertaker at Wrestlemania X, Summer Slam ’95, 1996 Royal Rumble, and zillion other televised staged fights which the author believed to be real, till puberty.
Now coming back to IPL’s relatively young lifespan, a few trends have emerged. Mumbai and Chennai will always flex their muscle and pick up the best players that money can buy. Kolkata and Bangalore have shown themselves to be proven learners, and possess the financial strength to retain their best buys. The rest with the exception of Rajasthan will always remain favourites for the wooden spoon. They seem to be reluctant spenders, always expecting their uncapped Indian players to help the team punch well above their weights and look to make some inspired international acquisitions, like Punjab’s purchase of Shawn Marsh in season one or Rajasthan’s confidence in Shane Watson.
But then there is hope. There’s more to running a successful sporting franchise than going to an annual sale at the local mall with a Visa Platinum card (No reference to the rich wife who spends as much on botox as she does on the bunch of spoilt brats in her cricket team.)
Sometimes, there’s a greater joy in building a superstar team rather than bringing together a team of Superstars. It is what happened with Rajasthan in IPL 2008 – When Swapnil Asnoudkar proved to be a greater threat than the Jayasuriyas and Haydens; when Yusuf Pathan did with the bat what Arnie did with a shot gun in Judgement Day (Sadly, his following seasons were as predictably disappointing as Terminator 4); When Sohail Tanvir erupted like Stromboli (only to turn dormant ever since), and of course, when Shane Warne was…well, Shane Warne. And even the Deccan Chargers in 2009 (Whom we refuse to write about, owing to the author’s loyalties as a Hyderabadi, and his belief that the teams current form leaves him very little to write home about).
So how could one have built such a super team, with a potent mix of uncapped wonders and surprisingly consistent international stars? With the players being picked up at Big Bazaar’s Sabse Sasta Din rates? In the advertising world, there’s a belief that the best advertising strategy is written long after the success of the product. Therefore, after watching 59 and a half matches this IPL, here’s our list of the Most Valuable Team based a complicated formula that has performances (DLF Maximums, Citi Moments of Success, Kaarbon Kamaal catches) in the Numerator and their respective salaries in the denominator.
Most Valuable XI
Ajinkya Rahane (541 runs at a salary of under USD 44,000)
Chris Gayle (571 runs at a salary of USD 550,000)
Mandeep Singh (359 runs at a salary of under USD 22,000)
Faf du Plessis (385 runs at a salary of USD 120,000)
Ambati Rayudu (230 runs at a salary of USD 66,000)
Nitin Saini (121 runs and 9 dismissals at a salary of USD 44,000)
Rajat Bhatia( 8 wickets at a salary of USD 66,000)
Shahbaaz Nadeem( 8wickets at a salary of USD 44,000)
Parvinder Avana( 12 wickets at a salary of USD 22,000)
Kevon Cooper (10 wickets at a salary of USD 50,000)
Lasith Malinga (20 Wickets at a salary of USD 450,000)
Image credit: thewicketpost.com